Melania Trump Holds Opioid Roundtable At White House

By Keri Blakinger 10/02/17

A spokeswoman for Melania Trump said she hopes to join forces with the presidential commission to address youth prevention initiatives.

Melania Trump

First Lady Melania Trump is tackling the opioid crisis. 

At least that was the message of a cozy roundtable discussion the first lady hosted last Thursday at the White House State Dining Room. 

"The well-being of children is of the utmost importance to me and I plan to use my platform as first lady to help as many kids as I can," she told the 10 guests invited to her first policy discussion, according to CNN

Senior presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway, opioid commission chair and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price all attended—along with a person who formerly struggled with drug addiction and a couple whose son recently died of an overdose.

The first lady has taken interest in the opioid crisis before, joining the president for a briefing on it last month and regularly meeting with impacted families last year during the campaign. 

A spokeswoman for Melania Trump said she hopes to join forces with the presidential commission in addressing prevention initiatives for youth.

“The opioid crisis is the deadliest epidemic in American history, and it is getting worse,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in an email, according to the Associated Press. “It affects children of all ages, even before they are born. As a mother, and as first lady, she is anxious to use her platform to help.”

Meanwhile, the president has promised to declare the opioid epidemic an official emergency.

"The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency," Trump told reporters back in August. "We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had." 

The official declaration is still in the works, a fact that has led some advocates to criticize the administration’s failure to act. The commander-in-chief has taken some steps forward, though, starting with the creation of the president's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in March.

The group’s third meeting came a day before the first lady’s White House roundtable. The first lady, who was in New York, did not attend. The group’s final report is expected in November.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.